Last Modified: Saturday, August 10, 2013 5:51 PM
Aeroframe’s lease with Chennault International Airport has been terminated and will be turned over to Illinois-based AAR Corp. — a new partnership that will reportedly create 500 jobs.
The company will support a 750-job aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul operation. The Louisiana Economic Development Department estimates AAR will create 526 indirect jobs.
AAR will retain 250 employees from Aeroframe. AAR Chairman and CEO David Storch said he could not comment on whether each employee would be retained from Aeroframe, but that an AAR job fair will be held next week.
Chennault Executive Director Randy Robb expects for 95 percent of Aeroframe’s employees to be retained. Robb said that “one day these employees will be working for Aeroframe, and the next day they will be working for AAR.”
Gov. Bobby Jindal led the news conference Friday at Chennault, along with company executives and elected officials.
“This is great news for Lake Charles, Southwest Louisiana and the entire state,” Jindal said at the news conference. “Chennault is a great example of the reutilization of this space for the benefit of the entire community.”
Robb said it was “one of the biggest things to ever happen to Chennault.”
Jindal said discussions between LED and Chennault began in July — talks that “happened very quickly.” The lease termination was requested by Aeroframe, which had been at Chennault since 2005. Roger Porter, former CEO of Aeroframe, will be a “member of the AAR corporate structure,” Robb said.
“Based in the Chicago area, AAR is a global provider of products and services to commercial airlines and is also ranked among the Top 100 defense contractors in the world,” reads a news release issued by Jindal’s office.
“The company’s aircraft MRO business is the largest independent business of its kind in the United States.”
AAR’s workforce, spread over 17 countries, numbers about 7,000. The company will move into 520,000 or so square feet of service and administrative space and use 118,000 square feet of Hangar H when the structure is completed.
The state offered AAR an incentive package that included a $2 million performance-based grant.
In addition, the state will work with Sowela Technical Community College to train workers and funnel future employees to AAR and other aviation companies. The state will give the school $3.7 million. That comes on the heels of a $20 million investment from the state for a new training center at Sowela.
“This is a very important day for Sowela as the college is uniquely positioned to become a key source of the training needed by the workers who will be employed by AAR as well as Northrop Grumman, both of which are literally next door,” Neil Aspinwall, chancellor, said in a news release.
“We’re excited to be here,” Storch said at the news conference. “The commitment to the educational process to allow a new stream of mechanics and engineers and people coming into the workforce ... made it really attractive to us and we agreed to relocate into these facilities. The possibilities of our company are greatly expanding by having the opportunity to be here.”
George Swift, president and CEO of the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance, said the spirit of cooperation made Friday’s announcement possible.
“Sowela is getting ready to be transformed. So is Southwest Louisiana,” he said. “There are a lot of people who worked around the clock to make this happen.”
Posted By: Ladell Paris On: 8/15/2013
Title: Additional hours that we never got paid for.
Numerous hour were also never payed to us because of how our system was set up. Ever since Aeroframe did away with piece rate and transitioned into hour for hour, mechanics were getting shorted numerous hours every week because our clock-in time and being clocked to a work card was different. Just on a average, most mechs were shorted about 1 hr a week per 40 hrs worked. Multiply that times 200+ mechs at an average of $20 an hr times just 6 months.
Now just 1 hr doesn't seem like much but just over a 6 month period, that's 4800 unpaid man hours totaling $96,000 and the last time I checked, theft over $500 was a felony.
Posted By: unknown On: 8/14/2013
Title: Working for a crook
This so called Roger Porter is a crppk!
Posted By: Lauren Nabours On: 8/13/2013
Title: Aeroframe Employees Should Be Taken Care Of/Paid What's Owed
Why is the community not taking care of it's own? The state/local governments bend over backwards to "court" companies moving into our area, however they do not seem to care about the approximately 200 employees of Aeroframe that did not get paid for the last two weeks of work plus vacation time that many of them PURCHASED from the company! The majority of these employees are men with families depending on this money, children starting school, etc. Where is the outrage from the community that AAR is receiving a 2 million dollar grant from the state for locating here, yet the Aeroframe employees are screwed?
Posted By: Herbert Cuttis On: 8/10/2013
Title: NO pay and layed off by email from Roger Porter.
Help us how can this be legal. Roger Porter did not pay us for over 100 hours each. Just an email saying closing at 400 pm.